Monday, May 13, 2013

MiM Mail: Medical school & baby #2?

Hello MothersinMedicine,

I just started following your blog and it has been so helpful and sometimes funny to read. I am very happy that I found you!

 I am currently a second year medical student with an almost 2 year old little boy. He was born right before I started medical school. So I only know medicine as a mother. My husband and I recently started talking about baby number two and I am getting really anxious. I would love for my little boy to have a sibling but the thought of having a newborn again scares me to death. My son was 12 weeks old when I started my first year and it was hell. He was far from sleeping through the night, I was incredibly sleep-deprived, and could only study during his naps or after he went to bed at night. With a lot of caffeine. Not to mention that he was pretty difficult as an infant, was very needy and required a lot of attention.

There is also the question of when is a good time. From what I gathered, it seems like 4th year would be a good time but I am worried about how to go through residency interview season either pregnant or postpartum. Have any MiM found that to be a problem?

I am planning to go into pediatrics and wonder if having children in general would be an advantage or a disadvantage in that specialty. Do interviewers care either way? Can I talk about my experience as a mom and how it lead me to pediatrics? Since I am busy raising my little one I have not had a whole lot of time to look into extra-curricular activities such as research and volunteer experiences. I feel like that will hurt me as a candidate. And another baby would certainly not help.

 I have to mention that my husband is active duty military and is not always home so most of the child care fall on me, although that is likely to change next year as I start clinical rotations.

 Anyway, that's my MiM experience. I love being a mother, a wife and a medical student and would not want to have it any other way. I'm trying the "having it all" thing and so far it's working great. I'm always happy to read other MiM stories, I feel less crazy trying to all make it work.

Thank you!


  1. Congrats on being a mom and a medical student! It can be hard. As a graduating medical student and mom to two born during medical school, I'll give you my two cents. I had my first infant at the end of first year. He was a mess and didn't sleep through the night until 1 year (I breastfed all the way). I had my second 11 months ago, in the last month of 3rd year. She was an angel child, and slept 4 hours straight from the start. Many fourth years choose to have their babies near the end of fourth year. I chose mine in the beginning...because I wanted to breastfeed for 1 year AND be sleeping through the night once residency started. Of course, pregnancy in third year wasn't so easy. But I had a very baby friendly program supporting me.

    There were pregnant women on my interview trail. I can't speak to the impression it left on interviewers, but they seemed to be doing quite well emotionally. I was postpartum (if you call four months postpartum), and actually met a few other postpartum moms on my journey. I took my daughter (and a friend who watched her for me) to the interviews. I know someone else who left her baby home with dad. She handled it well.

    I had very few extracurriculars during medical school. I can't say how this impacted my CV, but I am going to a great program!

    I think the biggest thing is having a support system. My husband works from home and takes care of our kids. He is my rock. If you have people you can rely on, and you are ready for another, you can make it work.

  2. I agree with the support wholeheartedly. I was able to do a lot with one child/busy spouse but by the time number 2 hit I did not know what I had gotten myself into. Two is hard without support and working/school. Others might argue, but I would focus less on the when during medicine and more on the when and how will I get the support I need to get through that first year with toddler/pre-schooler and baby.

    It's tough to control how others will perceive you having a baby on the motherhood trail. I think all working women experience some forms of prejudiced thinking and/or derogatory statements, but that has changed a lot in our lifetime, and it is usually more subtle. I found pediatrics to be extremely parent-friendly. Good luck!

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  4. Pediatrics is family friendly. It's what we do, care for the kids and the people who care about them. Since you asked, you can indeed interview in pediatrics while pregnant and it will not hurt or help your chances. Yes, you can discuss whatever your rationale is for choosing pediatrics, even if that stems from your family experiences. Also see my earlier post here on MiM: Pediatrics Is Kids and family

  5. As a Peds Intern with a 2yo who interviewed while pumping (my husband's schedule was flexible so my son was never more than a 2 hour drive away) it is soo much harder than I ever could have imagined!!! Most of the mama-Residents I know wish we were with our children more. I know several now Residents who had 2 children (or even one who had 3) while in medical school and they are surviving and seem happy (from Facebook). I agree with the comment that said to think about your support network. You will need primary childcare and multiple, multiple back ups. If you have that in place and can deal with spending up to 80 or more hours away from your children, go for it. However, my personal experience is one is more than enough right now and I'm waiting until I'm an Attending to have baby #2. Peds is the most family friendly residency BUT you have to make sure you are at a program with folks who actually have kids (look toward the Southern residencies).

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